Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Kenny & Marylou - A Story of Love and Racing

Kenny & Marylou - A Story of Love and Racing

Timeless Tale of Dedication and Devotion

Kenny Smith win the track championship to become the oldest champion in the track’s nineteen year history.

Kenny Smith is seventy-two years young. For a lot of that time, he has had two loves – racing and his wife of fifty-two years.

Born on September 25, 1946, he just celebrated his birthday. However, that is not all he celebrated.

Kenny and Marylou Smith have been married for fifty-two years.
Kenny & Marylou
You see, Kenny is not only winning races in the Sharky’s Spec Late Model Division at Irwindale Speedway* in California; just three days shy of his birthday, Smith won the track championship to become the oldest champion in the track’s nineteen-year history.

Irwindale had to rearrange the race schedule however. Smith who had set the fastest qualifying time during afternoon qualifying, rushed to the hospital to be with his wife. Marylou, who has suffered from some medical issues with Kenny by her side all the way, collapsed in the pits and was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. (Doctors diagnosed dehydration as the cause, but kept her for observation)

“We had a wild week end at Irwindale speedway it started very good we got fast time qualified #1 we were at autograph session about 6:30 pm and Marylou said she felt like she was going to faint so Cindy Philps took Marylou to the pits by the time it took to get there she was totally past out thank you to the Irwindale speedway fire and rescue team they responded very fast I went to the hospital with her she was dehydrated about 1hour after she told me to go back to Irwindale and win the race and the championship thank you Tim Huddelston and all the team at Irwindale speedway ps Marylou is doing very will” Kenny Smith via Facebook

Track officials moved Smith race from third in the order to last, which gave him time to be with his hospitalized wife and still get back to the track to not only compete, but unbelievable maintain the strength of mind to win!

Results of Sharky’s Spec Late Models
Main Event - September 23, 2018

Pos No. Name Laps Total 
1 43 Kenny Smith 25 08:45.9 85.568
2 98 John Watkinson 25 08:47.0 85.394
3 13 Shannon Millen 25 08:48.0 85.231
4 55 Dean Thompson 25 08:48.7 85.107
5 19 Robert Arevalo 25 09:06.1 82.402
6 29 Jason Delong 23 09:24.0 73.398
7 50 Craig Yeaton 11 09:13.6 35.766

On his way to the championship, Kenny, driving his No. 43 Chevrolet, won four of the races on the eight-race schedule.

Sharky’s Spec Late
Models 2018 Points

Pos Car# Name Total
1 43 Kenny Smith 442
2 24 Craig Yeaton 350
3 29 Jason DeLong 336
5 98 John Walkinson 272
4 19 Robert Arevalo 252
8 55 Dean Thompson 226
17 13 Shannon Millen 176
6 59 John Butler 148
7 21 Rich DeLong III 82
16 50 Brad DeBerti 50
9 19 Todd Conrad 46
10 21 David Hibbard 42
11 19 Tony Jackson 42
12 29 Matt Tsau 38

Smith is not new to racing. In fact, in the nineties, before many of his competitors were born,  he ran some NASCAR Winston West Series events. Kenny participated in the series, now known as the K&N Pro Series West from 1994 until 2000.

During that period, he raced against some familiar names including:
  • Greg Biffle
    Kenny Smith back in the day. #NASCAR
    Kenny back in the day.
  • Brett Bodine
  • Kurt Busch
  • Bill Elliott
  • Brendan Gaughan
  • Butch Gilliland
  • David Gilliland
  • Kevin Harvick Lance Hooper
  • Ron Hornaday Jr.
  • P.J. Jones
  • Hershel McGriff
  • Roger Mears Jr.
  • Jerry Nadeau
  • Boris Said
  • Ken Schrader
  • Mike Skinner
  • Lake Speed
  • Kenny Wallace
  • Mike Wallace

Smith executed smoking donuts in the infield prior to his finish-line interview with pit announcer/co-track promoter Tim Huddleston. Fans applauded and cheered loudly when told he was about to turn seventy-two.

“Just as soon as I’m finished here I’m taking this trophy to her (Marylou) in the hospital,” Smith proclaimed tearfully.

*Irwindale is located right in the center of the Los Angeles basin, the very heart of the San Gabriel Valley... Irwindale Speedway is easy to get to from anywhere in southern California.

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